Blue Jays bolster playoff resume
Johns Hopkins bounces back from loss to Ohio State
No. 13 Johns Hopkins wasn’t in playoff mode Saturday against No. 7 Penn State, but there was a sense of urgency. If the Blue Jays lost, they faced a tough climb to get back into the postseason picture.
The Blue Jays, though, built a six-goal lead early in the third quarter and added two goals in the final eight minutes to hang on for a 13-11 win over Penn State before an announced 4,124 at Homewood Field.
Hopkins (7-4, 2-1 Big Ten) had trouble securing the victory, allowing the Nittany Lions (10-2, 1-2) to pull within 12-11 on a goal by midfielder Dan Craig with 1:20 left in the game. But Hopkins midfielder Joel Tinney scored an empty-net goal with 37 seconds remaining to put away Penn State.
There was a sense of relief for Hopkins, which had lost to No. 9 Ohio State, 13-9, nearly a week ago. The Blue Jays still have Michigan and No. 3 Maryland left on their Big Ten regular-season schedule.
“A good team win, a really important win to come off that loss,” Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. “To go 1-2 in the Big Ten wasn’t an option for us this week. We put a lot into this game.”
Hopkins got balanced scoring, as attackman Shack Stanwick finished with three goals and two assists, and attackmen Forry Smith, Tinney and fellow midfielders Cody Radziewicz and Patrick Fraser each had two goals.
However, this game was more about hustle and desire than scoring. Johns Hopkins outshot Penn State 44-29, held a 38-24 advantage in ground balls and won 19 of 28 faceoffs.
Except for the three straight goals allowed to open the fourth quarter, Hopkins played a strong game.
“We talked about possession all week,” Pietramala said. “In our last game, we got out-possessed by 12 minutes and 35 seconds. It’s awful hard for the offense to get into rhythm. Defensively, you wear down, you get tired and have mental errors. So we talked a lot about that this week, and our play at the faceoff X was not up to our standards. I thought our unit [Saturday] was outstanding.
“Offensively, I loved how we shared the ball, moved it. We left some stuff on the table. Early on, we had good looks with a lot of shots, but to his credit, he stole a couple and played well in the goal.”
Penn State goalie Colby Kneese, who finished with 15 saves, played well enough for the Nittany Lions to keep hanging in the game. Then early in the fourth quarter, in part because of some Blue Jays turnovers, Penn State made a run. Attackman Grant Ament scored off a fast break nine seconds into the fourth, followed by a 20-yard high, hard shot from midfielder Mike Sutton about four minutes later.
Sutton scored from just outside the crease with 5:27 left in the game to cut Hopkins’ lead to 12-10, and Craig got the Nittany Lions within one about four minutes later.
But the Blue Jays keep coming up with key goals. Stanwick delivered a great pass to Smith for a goal midway through the fourth quarter to break the Nittany Lions’ three goal run, and then Tinney rolled in a goal from about 20 yards when Kneese came out to double the ball.
“When a goalie is playing like that, you just have to keep shooting at the right spots,” Stanwick said.
Stanwick (Boys’ Latin) had all three of his goals in the first half. Penn State Johns Hopkins Goals: PS—Ament 2, Craig 2, Florence 2, Sutton 2, Keenan, O’Keefe, Spillane; JH—Stanwick 3, Fraser 2, Smith 2, Radziewicz 2, Tinney 2, Crawley, Marr. Assists: PS—Aponte 4, Ament 3, Keenan, O’Keefe; JH—Marr 3, Stanwick 2, Kuhn, Smith. Saves: PS—Kneese 15; JH— Turnbaugh 7.